2012 Fantasy Basketball: Josh Smith, DeMar DeRozan, Dwight Howard and More

Line of the Night: Every so often, Josh Smith (2.96 WARP) will take his game to the next level and destroy everything in sight. His 28 points (on 11-17 from the field), with 12 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks in a 97-87 win over the Pacers was one of those games. Smith played nearly the entire game (46 minutes) as Larry Drew was riding him like a magical unicorn. For the season, Smith has done exactly what we expected from him, except for those pesky free throws, as he’s currently shooting a career-low 54% from the line.

Honorable Mentions: Carlos Delfino (2.74) is like that ex-girlfriend that Erik keeps taking back despite the fact that the last time they broke up she burned all his clothes and stole his dog. Well, Delfino is knocking on your door Erik and he wants to talk – with a 25 points, 6 three, 9 rebound and 4 steal performance against the Raptors. After two games of seeing less than 20 minutes on the court, Delfino got 34 minutes of run (likely thanks to Ersan Ilyasova sitting out with back spasms) and felt comfortable in the city he played back in 2007-08.

For the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan (1.39) scored 25 points and was 4-6 from three. DeRozan owners must be happy to see that he’s now strung together three pretty good games (baby steps!). Jose Calderon (1.16) also added 15 assists in the game to 1 turnover and is the ultimate Ast/To ratio guy if you happen to play in a league with that stat.

The fun thing about owning Dwight Howard (2.73) is that’s he’s the absolute best at what he does – and that’s completely and utterly dominating the paint. Howard had 25 points (on 9-14 shooting), with 24 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks in a 102-89 win over the Heat. His free throw shooting (7 of 10) was even acceptable. The dominate Ryan Anderson also returned for this game, scoring 27 points, grabbing 11 boards and hitting 5-11 from three.

For the Heat, Dwyane Wade (1.99) scored 33 points (shooting 15-24 from the field) and added 3 blocks. LeBron James (0.76) did have a 17, 6 and 10, but also shot 5-15 from the floor. Mario Chalmers was a surprise scratch from this game with a hand injury, so Norris Cole (-0.28) – remember him – got the start and had a quiet 9 points and 4 assists in 31 minutes.

Deron Williams (2.51) shot 6-9 from three and finished with 34 points and 7 assists in a loss to the Pistons. You know something is wrong with the way you’ve built your team when your second best player is the back-up point guard… Jordan Farmar (1.24) scored 22 and hit 3 threes off the bench (ok, in fairness injuries have a lot to do with that for the Nets). Greg Monroe (1.96) went for 20 and 12 with 3 blocks for the Pistons.

Manu Ginobili is targeting this weekend for a return to the court, but the Spurs don’t need him the way Tony Parker (2.23) has been playing lately. Two games after scoring 42 points, Parker dropped another 37, adding 8 assists in a win over the Sixers. Parker owners this is your official GMTR warning – now is the time to sell high. Think he’s going to be putting up these lines when Manu is back? No, I very much doubt he will.

It’s been a bit touch and go for Vince Carter (2.27) over his last four games, but last night was all go for Carter as he scored 17 points, with 3 threes, 5 rebounds and 8 assists as the Mavs beat the Nuggets. Good to see that Dirk Nowitzki (1.86) also chipped in 25 points and 9 boards.

And finally, I had to mention Jeremy Lin (1.73). I believe the Knicks are planning on erecting a statue of him outside the Garden after his 23 point and 10 assist performance in a win over the Wizards. If you’re on the fence about what to do with Baron Davis, Lin is making your decision much easier. Now that the Knicks finally have a competent PG who knows how to run a pick and roll, the team doesn’t have to rush Davis back to the court. It not that Lin is definitely going to be the starter once Davis returns, but with Davis already out until at least the all-star break and probably longer than that, he can be dropped in daily changes H2H leagues at this point.

Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Gary Neal (2.20) scored 18 points and added 4 threes, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in 30 minutes off the bench for the Spurs. With Manu returning to the court soon and with Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard to fight with minutes for, Neal is definitely a guy to simply leave on waivers. But nice game though.

Pick Up Lines: With Kyrie Irving out of the Cavs game with a concussion, Ramon Sessions (2.18) got his first start of the season and blew it out with a season high 24 points and 13 assists against Chris Paul and the Clips. Classic Sessions – and it’s the reason why so many NBA teams were looking to trade for him – including the Knicks before they developed Linfever. Once Irving returns to the court, Sessions returns to the bench where he has actually been getting a decent 25+ minutes a game lately. I wouldn’t pick him up though, for the simple reason that…

Daniel Gibson (0.93) returned to the court after missing five games with a neck infection. He also benefitted from Irving’s absence, scoring 17 points in 36 minutes. Keep an eye on his minutes going forward if you are in a deeper league.

Is Mike Dunleavy (2.16) stalking me? Every time I turn around, there he is. Back away, I need some space, dude. Anyway, Dunleavy scored 18 points and added 3 threes, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 32 minutes off the bench for the Bucks. Like every Buck not named Brandon Jennings, his minutes tend to fluctuate wildly from game to game, but if you can deal with the inconsistency, he is at least worth looking at in deep leagues as a scoring/threes guy.

With Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony both out for the Knicks, Steve Novak (2.05) is doing his best Amarelo impersonation, scoring 19 points off the bench for the second straight game. He was also 5-9 from three and added 5 rebounds. If you are the streaming type, Amare is out the rest of the week due to the tragic death of his brother, giving Novak at least two more games to shine. Pick him up for the weekend and probably send him packing once Amare returns.

I know he’s not the sexiest guy to own (in terms of stats; in real life he’s actual a handsome dude), but Courtney Lee’s (1.62) ownership should probably be higher than the 6% he’s currently owned in Yahoo leagues. Lee scored 16 points and hit 4 threes in 31 minutes off the bench against the Blazers. He’s been getting 30 minutes in a reserve role for Houston and plays in deeper leagues, especially in roto leagues where his do a little bit of everything type game is most useful. Lee’s teammate Chase Budinger (1.51) scored 22 points off the bench and hit 4 threes as well. After being buried for a while Budinger has worked his way back into Kevin McHale’s rotation… for now. And with Samuel Dalembert completely disappearing for the Rockets, Patrick Patterson (-0.11) has been seeing a little more run lately. However, his 11 points and 7 boards isn’t anything to get excited about unless you happen to play in a 16+ team league.

James Johnson (1.54) actually had the best fantasy game for the Raptors last night over DeRozan, doing what he does best by scoring 15 points and adding 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. If you want consistency out of your players, Johnson – and all the Raptors in fact – aren’t for you, but he does have the ability to put up plus defensive numbers as long as he’s getting run.

Rudy Fernandez (0.81) scored 17 points and hit a couple threes in the Nuggets first game without Danilo Gallinari. Fernandez saw 29 minutes off the bench, which is actually not much more than he’s been getting with Gallinari in the lineup. Still, he makes a decent add if you need threes and points. Rookie Julyan Stone (-0.56) actually got the start at SF and played a measly 7 minutes.

Kirk Hinrich (1.20) is doing exactly what Jeff Teague owners feared he would – he’s starting to eat into Teague’s minutes and fantasy performance. Hinrich caught fire from the floor against the Pacers, hit 7 of his 9 shots and finished with 17 points and 4 assists. For now, Hinrich is more of a party crasher for Teague owners than anything and if the timeshare keeps up, neither will be worth owning in normal sized leagues.

Biggest Loser: Welcome back to the court Raymond Felton (-1.12)! Maybe you should have taken off another game… Felton did have 9 points 6 assists in his return to the court against the Rockets, but complemented that with 5 turnovers and a 4-11 shooting performance.

Jarrett Jack (-1.08) also returned to the court after missing three games and also should have thought about sitting this one out. In 28 minutes, he finished with 4 points, 3 assists and shot 2-11 from the field. Better times ahead for both of these guys.

And hey, I’ve been saying this both on our podcast and on the blog, but last week was the time to sell high on Brandon Jennings (-0.93). His iffy shot has started to rear its ugly head. Jennings was 3-12 from the floor against Toronto and finished with 11 points and 4 assists. Jennings has now shot 34% from the floor over his last 5 games.


Daily rankings and stats come from the GMTR H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.

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